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Proceedings Paper

KIDSpec: an MKID based medium resolution integral field spectrograph
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Paper Abstract

We present a novel concept for a highly sensitive, medium spectral resolution optical through near-IR spectrograph. KIDSpec, the Kinetic Inductance Detector Spectrograph, uses the intrinsic energy resolving capability of an array of optical/IR-sensitive MKIDs to distinguish multiple orders from a low line-density (echelle) grating. MKID arrays have a wide bandpass (0.1-2.5um) and good quantum efficiency, making them strong candidates for replacing CCDs in many astronomical instruments. By acting as an ‘order resolver’, the MKID array replaces the cross-disperser in an echelle spectrograph. This greatly simplifies the optical layout of the spectrograph and enables longer slits than are possible with cross-dispersed instruments. KIDSpec would have similar capabilities to ESO’s X-shooter instrument. It would provide an R=4000-10,000 spectrum covering the entire optical and near-IR spectral range. In addition to a ‘long-slit’ mode, the IFU would provide a small (~50 spaxel) field-of-view for spatially resolved sources. In addition, the photon-counting operation of MKIDs and their photon-energy resolving ability enable a read-noise free spectrum with perfect cosmic ray removal. The spectral resolution would be sufficient to remove the bright night-sky lines without the additional pixel noise, making the instrument more sensitive than an equivalent semiconductor-based instrument. KIDSpec would enhance many existing high-profile science cases, including transient (GRB, SNe, etc.) follow-up, redshift determination of faint objects and transit spectroscopy of exoplanets. In addition it will enable unique science cases, such as dynamical mass estimates of the compact objects in ultra-compact binaries.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 July 2014
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9147, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V, 91470G (8 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2056297
Show Author Affiliations
Kieran O'Brien, Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)
Niranjan Thatte, Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom)
Benjamin Mazin, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9147:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V
Suzanne K. Ramsay; Ian S. McLean; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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